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Retail Job Types- Overview

Retail jobs are not just about unlocking dressing rooms and stocking shelves. Although sales are a huge part of the retail industry, there are tons of people working behind the scenes to keep employees, customers, and investors happy.

Anyone, from the college student on summer break to the business executive with an MBA, can find a job in the retail industry. It's simply a matter of finding something that works with your needs, education, and experience.

When looking at retail jobs, you can divide them into three main categories: store upkeep, product handling, and administration. Within each category, there are many jobs. Think about the life of a single product to understand how the jobs come into play:

  • Let's say the product in question is a vacuum cleaner. The product is manufactured and then shipped to a warehouse. Thus, the first jobs in the life of the vacuum cleaner are the Retail Warehouse Workers.
  • Retail Buyers constantly review all of the products in the market and sign off on those they think will work will for their store. A buyer, for example, will pick the vacuum cleaner in question from the warehouse, and items in bulk will be shipped to the store.
  • At the store, Retail Merchandisers look at the vacuum cleaners available, price them, and determine the best ways to display each product in the department for maximum sales.
  • It is at this point that you, the consumer, interact with the product for the first time. A Retail Sales Clerk will help you choose the perfect vacuum cleaner, and then a Retail Cashier will ring up the purchase and take your money. Retail Store Managers oversee their work and are available for anyone who has additional questions.
  • At night, Retail Stockers ensure that the shelves are full by replacing the vacuum cleaner you purchased and Retail Cleaning and Maintenance crews come through to make sure that the store itself looks nice for customers the next day. In addition, many stores employ Retail Security Officers to keep the products safe.
  • Retail Loss Prevention employees will review, after a certain period, how the vacuum cleaner is selling. They'll look at the sales figures and compare them to competitors or like products before making recommendations on whether or not to order more or change the merchandising. They'll also look at ways to minimize theft of products in the store, as well as control paperwork mistakes that could cause the company to lose money.
  • Of course, there will also be employees to help take care of employees. Retail Human Resources and Finance departments will ensure that paychecks go out on time, benefits are received, schedules are maintained, and so forth.
  • Lastly, there are the people in charge. Retail Corporate Management takes care of corporations. They decide how the store should look and feel, lead the buyers and merchandisers in making crucial decisions, and work with investors to create bigger paychecks and better product lines. In a smaller business, however, these jobs are funneled to one person - the Retail Store Owner, who wears quite a number of hats during the day in order to keep the business up and running.

That's a lot of work to sell a vacuum cleaner! This brief list of tasks is in no way all-inclusive. Most employees have dozens of duties on a day-to-day basis, and as the consumer, you may never see what goes on beyond the sales person and cashier. If you're looking for a job in the retail industry, don't forget - it doesn't end at sales!